In its most recent Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced that it will designate the Colorado Springs-based Family Research Institute as a hate group for “pumping out religiously motivated… demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.” SPLC writes that the relatively small Family Research Institute enjoys disproportionate influence because the propaganda about sexuality it packages as legitimate scientific research is picked up and amplified by politicians and news organizations seeking to counter the expanding gay rights movement.
“Started in 1987 by psychologist Paul Cameron, the Family Research Institute (FRI) has become the anti-gay movement’s main source for what Cameron claims is cutting-edge research,” reported the SPLC authors. “In fact, [the research] is completely discredited junk science pushed out by a man who has been condemned by three professional organizations.”
Fom the SPLC:
Over nearly three decades, Cameron has published “research studies” (though almost never in peer-reviewed journals) that suggest that homosexuals are predatory and diseased perverts who victimize children. Among his more recent defamations was an FRI pamphlet asserting the primary activity of the gay rights movement is “seeking to legitimize child-adult homosexual sex.” In another, he claimed that with “the rise of the gay rights movement, homosexual rape of men appears to have increased.” In yet another, he wrote, “Homosexuals were three times more likely to admit to having made an obscene phone call” and “a third more apt to report a traffic ticket or traffic accident in the past 5 years.”
Cameron’s colleagues have condemned him repeatedly. In 1983, he was thrown out of the American Psychological Association for ethical violations. In 1984, the Nebraska Psychological Association disassociated itself from Cameron’s statements about sexuality. In 1985, the American Sociological Association adopted a resolution saying Cameron “has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality” and “repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men”; the following year, the same group formally condemned Cameron for that misrepresentation of research.
Despite all this — and the fact that Cameron’s propaganda is widely known to be false or misleading — many groups have continued to use his claims, though often without citing their source. They include the American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Family Research Council (see above for all five) and, until recently, the Illinois Family Institute.
Cameron made news this summer when he failed to persuade lawyers for California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 to lean more heavily on his research to defend the Proposition in court. Even attorneys in favor of the proposition accepted that Cameron’s “research” wouldn’t hold up, no matter how much play it might get on the pulpit or with Christian politicians.
“There simply wasn’t any evidence,” said David Boies, one of the attorneys who argued against the Constitutionality of Prop 8, about conclusions linked to Family Research Institute data. “That’s just made up. That’s junk science. It’s easy for them to [tell their lies and spread fear] on television. But a witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court, you can’t do that.”
On August 4, in ruling on the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case held in San Francisco, Judge Vaughn Walker declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license,” Walker wrote in the conclusion to the 136 page ruling. “Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”
In a post announcing its latest report, the Southern Poverty Law Center explained the rationale that guided its calling out the Family Research Institute and seventeen other organizations:
The listing of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.
[Image: Paul Cameron ]